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How to Create an Effective Thesis Statement in 5 Easy Steps
Creating a thesis statement can be a daunting task. It’s one of the most important sentences in your paper, and it needs to be done right. But don’t worry — with these five easy steps, you’ll be able to create an effective thesis statement in no time.
Step 1: Brainstorm Ideas
The first step is to brainstorm ideas for your paper. Think about what you want to say and write down any ideas that come to mind. This will help you narrow down your focus and make it easier to create your thesis statement.
Step 2: Research Your Topic
Once you have some ideas, it’s time to do some research on your topic. Look for sources that support your ideas and provide evidence for the points you want to make. This will help you refine your argument and make it more convincing.
Step 3: Formulate Your Argument
Now that you have done some research, it’s time to formulate your argument. Take the points you want to make and put them into one or two sentences that clearly state what your paper is about. This will be the basis of your thesis statement.
Step 4: Refine Your Thesis Statement
Once you have formulated your argument, it’s time to refine your thesis statement. Make sure that it is clear, concise, and specific. It should also be arguable so that readers can disagree with it if they choose.
Step 5: Test Your Thesis Statement
The last step is to test your thesis statement. Does it accurately reflect the points you want to make? Is it clear and concise? Does it make an arguable point? If not, go back and refine it until it meets all of these criteria.
Creating an effective thesis statement doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With these five easy steps, you can create a strong thesis statement in no time at all.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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Thesis vs Journal Article: A Comprehensive Comparison
In the world of academia, two prominent forms of scholarly writing are the Thesis and the Journal Article . While both contribute to the advancement of knowledge and showcase research skills, they have distinct characteristics and serve different purposes. Understanding the differences between a thesis and a journal article is crucial for researchers, scholars, and students. In this article, we will provide a detailed and insightful comparison of these two forms of academic writing, examining their purpose, structure, audience, and publication process.
A thesis serves as a comprehensive demonstration of a student’s ability to conduct independent research, analyze data, and contribute original insights to their field of study. Its primary purpose is to fulfill the requirements for the completion of a degree, whether it be a master’s or a doctoral program. A thesis delves deep into a specific research problem, addressing gaps in existing knowledge and making a unique contribution to the field.
On the other hand, a journal article focuses on the dissemination of research findings to the wider academic community. Its purpose is to contribute to the existing body of knowledge, engage in scholarly discourse, and facilitate further research. Journal articles are typically more specific in scope, targeting a particular research question or hypothesis, and highlighting the significance of the findings within the context of the field.
Thesis and journal articles follow different structures to fulfill their respective purposes.
A thesis typically consists of several chapters, including an introduction, literature review, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion. These chapters are interconnected, forming a cohesive narrative that showcases the student’s research journey. Additionally, a thesis may include supplementary sections such as an abstract, acknowledgments, and appendices. The structure of a thesis allows for an extensive exploration of the research problem, thorough analysis of the findings, and comprehensive discussion of their implications.
In contrast, a journal article adheres to a more concise and standardized structure. It typically includes an abstract, introduction, methodology, results, discussion, and conclusion. Journal articles are focused and aim to present the research in a clear and concise manner within the limited word count set by the target journal. The structure of a journal article emphasizes brevity, with a specific focus on the key findings and their implications.
Audience and Publication
Theses and journal articles differ in their target audience and publication process.
Theses are primarily intended for academic evaluation and examination. They are typically assessed by a committee of professors or experts in the field. Theses contribute to the existing body of knowledge within a specific discipline, but they are not usually published in academic journals. While some theses may be made available through institutional repositories, their primary audience is the academic community within the student’s institution.
Journal articles, on the other hand, target a broader audience of researchers, scholars, and practitioners in the field. They undergo a rigorous peer-review process, where experts in the field assess the quality, validity, and contribution of the research. Successful publication in a reputable journal allows researchers to share their findings with the wider academic community, receive feedback, and contribute to ongoing scholarly discussions.
Length and Depth
Another significant difference between theses and journal articles lies in their length and depth.
Theses are typically longer and more extensive in terms of content. They require students to conduct comprehensive research, provide detailed literature reviews, and present thorough analyses. The length of a thesis can vary depending on the field and degree level, ranging from tens to hundreds of pages. This length allows for an in-depth exploration of the research problem and the incorporation of relevant theoretical frameworks and methodologies.
Journal articles, on the other hand, are generally shorter and more concise. They aim to present the research findings within the constraints of the target journal’s word count limitations. Journal articles can range from a few thousand words to around 8,000 words, depending on the journal’s requirements. The brevity of journal articles necessitates clear and focused writing, emphasizing the key findings, their interpretation, and their implications for the field. While the depth of analysis may be more limited compared to a thesis, journal articles are expected to provide sufficient information for other researchers to understand and build upon the presented research.
Citation and Referencing
Both theses and journal articles require accurate and comprehensive referencing to acknowledge the contributions of other researchers and provide credibility to the work.
In the case of theses, referencing is typically more extensive, as they involve comprehensive literature reviews and incorporate a broader range of sources. Theses follow specific citation styles, such as APA, MLA, or Chicago, as per the guidelines provided by the institution or department.
Journal articles also adhere to specific citation styles determined by the target journal. However, the referencing in journal articles tends to be more focused on the specific literature and studies directly relevant to the research question at hand. The emphasis is on providing adequate support for the key arguments and findings presented in the article.
The thesis and the journal article are distinct forms of academic writing, each with its own purpose, structure, audience, and publication process.
Theses demonstrate a student’s research capabilities and contribute original insights to their field of study. They are comprehensive in scope, consisting of several chapters that explore the research problem in depth. Theses are primarily evaluated by academic committees and are not typically published in academic journals.
Journal articles, on the other hand, aim to disseminate research findings to the wider academic community. They focus on specific research questions and contribute to existing knowledge. Journal articles follow a concise and standardized structure, adhering to the guidelines of the target journal. They undergo rigorous peer review and are published in reputable journals to reach a broader audience.
Understanding the distinctions between theses and journal articles enables researchers, scholars, and students to approach each form of writing with the appropriate structure, depth, and style required for their intended purpose and audience. Both theses and journal articles play vital roles in advancing knowledge and fostering academic discourse within their respective fields.
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In-text Citation: Referencing Guide
APA Referencing Style: A Quick Guide
IEEE Referencing Style: A Quick Guide
What Does an Editor Expect in Journal Article Submission?
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- Proceedings vs Book of Abstracts
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Understanding & Evaluating Sources
- Get Started
- Evaluating Sources
- Different Types of Sources
- Recognizing Bias
Types of Sources - Some Useful Tools
- Anatomy of a Scholarly Article Check out the typical components of a scholarly journal article (from North Carolina State University Libraries).
- Types of sources - Quick Reference Chart There are key differences between scholarly, popular and professional publications. For a side-by-side comparison check out our Quick Reference chart (from University of British Colombia Libraries).
Types of Sources - Videos
- Different Types of Sources From Cal State University Northridge Library
Types of Sources
These are sources that you are likely to encounter when doing academic research.
Questions? Ask us !
Scholarly publications (Journals)
A scholarly publication contains articles written by experts in a particular field. The primary audience of these articles is other experts. These articles generally report on original research or case studies. Many of these publications are "peer reviewed" or "refereed". This means that scholars in the same field review the research and findings before the article is published. Articles in scholarly publications, in most cases:
are written by and for faculty, researchers, or other experts in a field
use scholarly or technical language
include a full bibliography of sources cited in the article
are often peer reviewed (refereed)
To see the typical components of a scholarly journal article check out the Anatomy of a Scholarly Article page from North Carolina State University Libraries.
Popular sources (News and Magazines)
There are many occasions on which reading articles from popular sources can help to introduce you to a topic and introduce you to how that topic is being discussed in society. Articles in popular sources, in most cases:
are written by journalists or professional writers for a general audience
written in a language that is easy to understand by the general public
rarely have a bibliography - rather, they are fact-checked through the editorial process of the publication they appear in
don't assume prior knowledge of a subject area - for this reason, they are often very helpful to read if you don't know a lot about your subject area yet
may contain an argument, opinion, or analysis of an issue
Trade publications are generally for practitioners. They are focused on a specific field but are not intended to be "scholarly". Rather, they communicated the news and trends in that field. Articles in trade publications, in most cases:
are written by practitioners in a field (nurses, teachers, social workers, etc)
use the language (and jargon) of the field
Books / Book Chapters
Many academic books will be edited by an expert or group of experts. Often, books are a good source for a thorough investigation of a topic. Unlike a scholarly article, which will usually focus on the results of one research project, a book is likely to include an overview of research or issues related to its topic.
Conference proceedings are compilations of papers, research, and information presented at conferences. Proceedings are sometimes peer-reviewed and are often the first publication of research that later appears in a scholarly publication (see above!). Proceedings are more commonly encountered (via databases and other searching) in science and engineering fields that in the arts and humanities.
The Government Printing Office disseminates information issued by all three branches of the government to federal depository libraries (including NMSU). Additionally, the many departments of the government publish reports, data, statistics, white papers, consumer information, transcripts of hearings, and more. Some of the information published by government offices is technical and scientific. Other information is meant for the general public.
Theses & Dissertations
Theses and dissertations are the result of an individual student's research while in a graduate program. They are written under the guidance and review of an academic committee but are not considered "peer-reviewed" or "refereed" publications.
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- Knowledge Base
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- Types of Sources Explained | Examples & Tips
Types of Sources Explained | Examples & Tips
Published on May 19, 2022 by Eoghan Ryan . Revised on May 31, 2023.
Throughout the research process , you’ll likely use various types of sources . The source types commonly used in academic writing include:
Table of contents
Primary, secondary, and tertiary sources, other interesting articles, frequently asked questions about types of sources.
Academic journals are the most up-to-date sources in academia. They’re typically published multiple times a year and contain cutting-edge research. Consult academic journals to find the most current debates and research topics in your field.
There are many kinds of journal articles, including:
- Original research articles: These publish original data ( primary sources )
- Theoretical articles: These contribute to the theoretical foundations of a field.
- Review articles: These summarize the current state of the field.
Credible journals use peer review . This means that experts in the field assess the quality and credibility of an article before it is published. Journal articles include a full bibliography and use scholarly or technical language.
Academic journals are usually published online, and sometimes also in print. Consult your institution’s library to find out what academic journals they provide access to.
Learn how to cite a journal article
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The AI-powered Citation Checker helps you avoid common mistakes such as:
- Missing commas and periods
- Incorrect usage of “et al.”
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- Missing reference entries
Academic books are great sources to use when you need in-depth information on your research or dissertation topic .
They’re typically written by experts and provide an extensive overview and analysis of a specific topic. They can be written by a single author or by multiple authors contributing individual chapters (often overseen by a general editor).
Books published by respected academic publishing houses and university presses are typically considered trustworthy sources. Academic books usually include a full bibliography and use scholarly or technical language. Books written for more general audiences are less relevant in an academic context.
Books can be accessed online or in print. Your institution’s library will likely contain access to a wide selection of each.
Learn how to cite a book
Websites are great sources for preliminary research and can help you to learn more about a topic you’re new to.
However, they are not always credible sources . Many websites don’t provide the author’s name, so it can be hard to tell if they’re an expert. Websites often don’t cite their sources, and they typically don’t subject their content to peer review.
For these reasons, you should carefully consider whether any web sources you use are appropriate to cite or not. Some websites are more credible than others. Look for DOIs or trusted domain extensions:
- URLs that end with .edu are specifically educational resources.
- URLs that end with .gov are government-related
Both of these are typically considered trustworthy.
Learn how to cite a website
Newspapers can be valuable sources, providing insights on current or past events and trends.
However, news articles are not always reliable and may be written from a biased perspective or with the intention of promoting a political agenda. News articles usually do not cite their sources and are written for a popular, rather than academic, audience.
Nevertheless, newspapers can help when you need information on recent topics or events that have not been the subject of in-depth academic study. Archives of older newspapers can also be useful sources for historical research.
Newspapers are published in both digital and print form. Consult your institution’s library to find out what newspaper archives they provide access to.
Learn how to cite a newspaper article
Prevent plagiarism. Run a free check.
Encyclopedias are reference works that contain summaries or overviews of topics rather than original insights. These overviews are presented in alphabetical order.
Although they’re often written by experts, encyclopedia entries are not typically attributed to a single author and don’t provide the specialized knowledge expected of scholarly sources. As a result, they’re best used as sources of background information at the beginning of your research. You can then expand your knowledge by consulting more academic sources.
Encyclopedias can be general or subject-specific:
- General encyclopedias contain entries on diverse topics.
- Subject encyclopedias focus on a particular field and contain entries specific to that field (e.g., Western philosophy or molecular biology).
They can be found online (including crowdsourced encyclopedias like Wikipedia) or in print form.
Learn how to cite Wikipedia
Every source you use will be either a:
- Primary source : The source provides direct evidence about your topic (e.g., a news article).
- Secondary source : The source provides an interpretation or commentary on primary sources (e.g., a journal article).
- Tertiary source : The source summarizes or consolidates primary and secondary sources but does not provide additional analysis or insights (e.g., an encyclopedia).
Tertiary sources are often used for broad overviews at the beginning of a research project. Further along, you might look for primary and secondary sources that you can use to help formulate your position.
How each source is categorized depends on the topic of research and how you use the source.
If you want to know more about ChatGPT, AI tools , citation , and plagiarism , make sure to check out some of our other articles with explanations and examples.
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There are many types of sources commonly used in research. These include:
- Journal articles
You’ll likely use a variety of these sources throughout the research process , and the kinds of sources you use will depend on your research topic and goals.
Scholarly sources are written by experts in their field and are typically subjected to peer review . They are intended for a scholarly audience, include a full bibliography, and use scholarly or technical language. For these reasons, they are typically considered credible sources .
Popular sources like magazines and news articles are typically written by journalists. These types of sources usually don’t include a bibliography and are written for a popular, rather than academic, audience. They are not always reliable and may be written from a biased or uninformed perspective, but they can still be cited in some contexts.
In academic writing, the sources you cite should be credible and scholarly. Some of the main types of sources used are:
- Academic journals: These are the most up-to-date sources in academia. They are published more frequently than books and provide cutting-edge research.
- Books: These are great sources to use, as they are typically written by experts and provide an extensive overview and analysis of a specific topic.
It is important to find credible sources and use those that you can be sure are sufficiently scholarly .
- Consult your institute’s library to find out what books, journals, research databases, and other types of sources they provide access to.
- Look for books published by respected academic publishing houses and university presses, as these are typically considered trustworthy sources.
- Look for journals that use a peer review process. This means that experts in the field assess the quality and credibility of an article before it is published.
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ACAP LEARNING RESOURCES
ACAP Pathfinder: Literature Review
- What is a Literature Review?
- Examples of Literature Reviews
- The Research Question
Types of Literature
- How to Search
- Recording the Search
- Reference Management
- Evaluating the Literature
Your research question or thesis statement will inform the types of literature that will best suit the review. There are many different types literature and they come from a variety of sources. The resources described below provide you with a general outline of the types of literature available via the library. Go to the Choosing Resources page in the Information Skills guide to learn more about where and how to find these resources in the library and on the internet.
Some edited books, journal articles, theses and government publications will employ research paradigms and methodologies to support a hypothesis. Methodologies can be broadly categorised as longitudinal, qualitative or quantitative. Many of these publications are peer-reviewed, meaning they have been checked by a panel of experts before publication. Most library databases offer a peer-reviewed checkbox which will filter search results in this way. They will also allow you to filter results according to research methodology, focus group, geographical location and much more. Research literature is an essential component of your literature review.
Literature that is informed and tested by research, these books, articles and reference sources will attempt to explain, describe, define and provide a background or theoretical framework for a field of inquiry. These sources may include the original works of primary theorists as well as works which build upon, critique and discuss these primary sources while connecting it to the latest research. This type of literature is also an important component of any literature review.
Information sources such as books and articles, which deal with the underlying beliefs, attitudes and concepts that form the basic assumptions or building blocks within a profession or field of study. This kind of literature formulates critical inquiry from either an ethical, epistemological, metaphysical or logical standpoint. The extent to which you use philosophical literature will depend on the focus and subject matter of your review but it may be useful when constructing a background or theoretical base in your writing.
Empirical or Practice-based Literature
Types of Resources
- FILM & VIDEO
- NEWS & MAGAZINES
- REFERENCE SOURCES
- CONFERENCES & THESES
- GOVERNMENT & POLICIES
Provide an overview of a subject area or of a number of related topics. They may also include detailed information about a specific topic or topics. Search for print books using MultiSearch . These items may be collected from library shelves or requested from other campuses. eBooks are searchable from MultiSearch or A-Z Databases and may be read online or downloaded to any PC or device.
Use books to gather comprehensive information on a topic. In the library, you will find mostly academic, non-fiction items which may be used in your assessment tasks to sketch out an overview on a subject or to illustrate an in-depth understanding.
- Essentials of Psychology Concepts and Applications
- Addiction: Psychology and Treatment
Journal publications, sometimes called periodicals or serials, contain articles which offer research, reports, reviews, letters and other papers on specific topics. They are usually published weekly, monthly, quarterly or yearly. Academic publications are often peer-reviewed and as such provide up-to-date information from authorised sources. Search for journal articles via MultiSearch and A-Z Databases . Search for journal publications using A-Z Journals . You can also search for articles on the internet via Google Scholar or Researchgate .
Journal articles can provide you with more up-to-date information on specific aspects of a topic, and in smaller more digestible packages than books. Use journal publications to access scholarly research on a topic, often from a unique or new perspective.
- International Journal of Clinical & Health Psychology
- Khan, F., Chong, J., Theisen, J., Fraley, R., Young, J., & Hankin, B. (2020). Development and Change in Attachment: A Multiwave Assessment of Attachment and Its Correlates Across Childhood and Adolescence. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology , 118 (6), 1188–1206. https://doi.org/10.1037/pspi0000211
Audiovisual material in the form of DVDs, podcasts, online streaming and so on, is searchable from MultiSearch or A-Z Databases . Videos in the library include movies, conferences and seminars, tutorials, documentaries and much more.
AV items may be used as instructional material or gain an understanding of a topic by way of visual or concrete examples.
- Narrative Family Therapy
- Waltz with Bashir
News items are published at regular intervals and provide new information about various topics of interest to the general public. Magazines are also produced regularly and may focus on a particular subject area or cover a range of topics, again for consumption by the general public. The information within news publications and magazines are not in themselves scholarly works but may refer to academic sources. These sources can be found by searching MultiSearch or A-Z Databases
To access recent or new information about current affairs, social, economic or political issues which provide an overview or introduction in digestible and readable packages. While not scholarly information, these resources may be required for use in particular assessment tasks or point towards recent research in a particular field.
- Australia targeted in cyber crime increase
- New Scientist
- Search for news on Google
Reference items such as dictionaries, encyclopaedias, handbooks and industry standards provide an overview of a subject area, or include specific definitions, technical or practical information. They are searchable via MultiSearch and A-Z Databases . Reference works at ACAP cover a range of topics including but not limited to sociology, social work and philosophy, psychology, counselling and mental illness, legal materials and policies, diagnoses, drug overviews, care planning and best practices for healthcare workers.
Useful for a broad understanding of a topic, theory or theorist or for assessment tasks which require technical or practical information about a particular industry or field of inquiry.
- Evidence-Based Policy
- Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders : DSM-5
A website is a set of related and interlinked pages which are hosted on the World Wide Web (WWW). A webpage refers to the individual pages contained within these sites. To search the WWW, download an internet browser (we recommend Google Chrome) and use a search engine such as Google to find content.
The websites of particular institutions and government departments may be useful for your assessment tasks. You might also want to look at scholarly sites, such as Google Scholar, Researchgate, State Libraries, academic publishers and journal indexing services, to find the most scholarly information on the Web. Links recommended by the library can be found on the Useful Websites page.
- Google Scholar
- Dulwich Centre Resources
Conference papers are presented at conferences which are usually themed around a specific subject area or set of related topics and presented as a collection of proceedings. Some papers may be peer-reviewed and are searchable from MultiSearch , within journal databases , Dissertation Express or via Libraries Australia Trove database . A thesis or dissertation involves personal research, written by a candidate for an advanced university degree. Theses are also searchable from MultiSearch , Trove , or within individual academic institutional repositories and indexing databases such as PQDT Open , NDLTD , CORE and DART .
Conference proceedings and theses can provide you with an in-depth look at some of the latest research on specific aspects of a topic.
- Counselor education: A personal growth & personal development experience
- Awareness of memory deficits in Parkinson’s disease
Legal resources include documents such as, but not limited to Bills, Acts, regulations, statutory laws, by-laws, proceedings of Parliament, legal cases and tribunal decisions. Some of these resources may be found by searching MultiSearch , in databases such as AustLII or JADE or within legislative sites for individual states and territories. You will also find cases and tribunal decisions on the websites of regulatory authorities such as AHPRA .
Use these information sources when you need to refer to current laws, records, cases and decisions in your assessment tasks.
- AustLII Cases & Legislation
- Library Resources for Criminology & Justice: Law & Legislation
Government policies, reports, gazettes, media releases and parliamentary publications such as Hansards, are available from various websites here in Australia. You can also search Google to find individual publications. MultiSearch and journal databases will include some government papers and reports in search results. However, you should also directly consult federal and state departments and agencies, Libraries Australia GovPubs, the Analysis and Policy Observatory and State and Federal Parliamentary libraries.
Use these sources in your assessment tasks to access up-to-date and authoritative information on subject areas which may be affected by Federal or State government.
- Domestic and family violence and parenting: mixed method insights into impact and support needs - final report
- National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research
Statistical reports and data from sites such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics gather information for a particular field of research or to report on the views and habits of the population. Data collection may be performed via interviews, questionnaires, surveys, censuses and so on. You'll also be able to search for and access statistical information using MultiSearch and journal databases . Other important sites for statistics include the Australian Institute of Family Studies , Australian Institute of Health & Welfare and HILDA .
An important part of the research in any field of study, statistical reporting and datasets are useful for description, analysis and comparison in your assessment tasks.
- 4329.0.00.003 - Patterns of Use of Mental Health Services and Prescription Medications, 2011
- Parent-child contact after separation
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- Last Updated: Sep 13, 2023 10:53 AM
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Information Sources: Choosing and Finding the Right Source
- Getting Started
Encyclopedias, trade magazines or journals.
- Websites, Databases, Library Catalog
- Google & Google Scholar
- Choosing a Topic
- Background Information
- Creating a Search Strategy
- Google or Database Search?
- Scholarly (Peer-Review) vs. Popular Sources
- Find Articles
- Evaluating Sources
- Integrating Sources into Your Paper
Use this guide to help you make a decision about which information source is best. If you are deciding on a topic or need background information on a topic, start with an encyclopedia. If you want in-depth coverage of a topic, look for a book. If you are looking for current thinking about a topic, try a magazine or newspaper.
If you are ready to do intense research on a narrow or specific subject, select peer-reviewed articles from academic journals in the databases.
Collections of brief, factual articles on various topics. Great starting point for research to gather background information about your topic.
- Usually organized alphabetically by topic.
- Writers are experts in their field, but this is NOT scholarly information.
- Encyclopedia Brittanica
- Columbia Encyclopedia
- Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History
- Encyclopedia of Bioethics
- A collection of fairly short articles reporting on news, trends, events.
- Written by journalists and staff writers.
- NOT scholarly. "Popular" press.
- Very current. Usually published daily; sometimes weekly.
- Audience: the average adult; available at stores and newstands.
- The Boston Globe
- The New York Times
- The Chronicle of Higher Education
- A collection of easy-to-read articles
- Often has images and advertising
- Articles written by journalists or staff writers.
- NOT scholarly. Sometimes they are called "popular."
- Usually very current information. Magazines often publish on a monthly or weekly basis.
- Audience: the average adult reader; available at bookstores and newstands.
- National Geographic
- Sports Illustrated
- Psychology Today
- Consumer Reports
- A collection of articles on news, trends, and developments within a specific industry.
- NOT scholarly.
- Audience is workers within a specific profession.
- Advertising is specific to the industry.
- Most industries have trade journals. Some are published by trade associations.
- Most are not available at newstands.
- A collection of serious articles typically longer in length (10+ pages).
- Little or no images or advertising.
- Focused on a specific discipline such as medicine or art.
- Written by researchers and experts in the discipline. They are called scholars.
- Audience: other scholars or researchers in the same field. Usually found in libraries. Hardly ever available at a bookstore or newstand.
- Based on other research so a lengthy list of references is included.
- also called peer-reviewed, academic, or refereed journals
- The New England Journal of Medicine
- The Academy of Management Review
- Scholarly/Peer-reviewed Sources What is a scholarly/peer-reviewed source? How can I recognize one? Why should I use them? Where do I find them? Use this handout to help you understand and utilize scholarly/peer-reviewed sources.
- A nonfiction book either provides general information, a broad overview of a topic, or a deep analysis of a subject.
- There are books on every topic.
- Online (ebooks) or in print.
- Students should look for books that bring together all the information on one topic to support a claim or thesis.
- Books can be scholarly or popular.
- Does the author hold a doctorate or teach at a university?
- Has the author written other important books on the subject?
- Did the author receive fellowships or grants to support the writing of the book?
- Is the book published by a university press such as Johns Hopkins University Press?
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- Last Updated: Nov 17, 2022 11:10 AM
- URL: https://libguides.regiscollege.edu/informationsources
- Search current calls for papers
- Try the Taylor & Francis Journal Suggester
Different types of research articles
A guide for early career researchers, jump to section.
In scholarly literature, there are many different kinds of articles published every year. Original research articles are often the first thing you think of when you hear the words ‘journal article’. In reality, research work often results in a whole mixture of different outputs and it’s not just the final research article that can be published.
Finding a home to publish supporting work in different formats can help you start publishing sooner, allowing you to build your publication record and research profile.
But before you do, it’s very important that you check the instructions for authors and the aims and scope of the journal(s) you’d like to submit to. These will tell you whether they accept the type of article you’re thinking of writing and what requirements they have around it.
Understanding the different kind of articles
There’s a huge variety of different types of articles – some unique to individual journals – so it’s important to explore your options carefully. While it would be impossible to cover every single article type here, below you’ll find a guide to the most common research articles and outputs you could consider submitting for publication.
Many academic journals publish book reviews, which aim to provide insight and opinion on recently published scholarly books. Writing book reviews is often a good way to begin academic writing. It can help you get your name known in your field and give you valuable experience of publishing before you write a full-length article.
If you’re keen to write a book review, a good place to start is looking for journals that publish or advertise the books they have available for review. Then it’s just a matter of putting yourself forward for one of them.
You can check whether a journal publishes book reviews by browsing previous issues or by seeing if a book review editor is listed on the editorial board. In addition, some journals publish other types of reviews, such as film, product, or exhibition reviews, so it’s worth bearing those in mind as options as well.
Get familiar with instructions for authors
Be prepared, speed up your submission, and make sure nothing is forgotten by understanding a journal’s individual requirements.
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A medical case report – also sometimes called a clinical case study – is an original short report that provides details of a single patient case.
Case reports include detailed information on the symptoms, signs, diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up of an individual patient. They remain one of the cornerstones of medical progress and provide many new ideas in medicine.
Depending on the journal, a case report doesn’t necessarily need to describe an especially novel or unusual case as there is benefit from collecting details of many standard cases.
Take a look at F1000Research’s guidance on case reports , to understand more about what’s required in them. And don’t forget that for all studies involving human participants, informed written consent to take part in the research must be obtained from the participants – find out more about consent to publish.
In medicine, a clinical study report is a type of article that provides in-depth detail on the methods and results of a clinical trial. They’re typically similar in length and format to original research articles.
Most journals now require that you register protocols for clinical trials you’re involved with in a publicly accessible registry. A list of eligible registries can be found on the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform (ICTRP) . Trials can also be registered at clinicaltrials.gov or the EU Clinical Trials Register . Once registered, your trial will be assigned a clinical trial number (CTN).
Before you submit a clinical study, you’ll need to include clinical trial numbers and registration dates in the manuscript, usually in the abstract and methods sections.
Commentaries and letters to editors
Letters to editors, as well as ‘replies’ and ‘discussions’, are usually brief comments on topical issues of public and political interest (related to the research field of the journal), anecdotal material, or readers’ reactions to material published in the journal.
Commentaries are similar, though they may be slightly more in-depth, responding to articles recently published in the journal. There may be a ‘target article’ which various commentators are invited to respond to.
You’ll need to look through previous issues of any journal you’re interested in writing for and review the instructions for authors to see which types of these articles (if any) they accept.
Many of our medical journals accept conference material supplements. These are open access peer-reviewed, permanent, and citable publications within the journal. Conference material supplements record research around a common thread, as presented at a workshop, congress, or conference, for the scientific record. They can include the following types of articles:
Find out more about submitting conference materials.
Data notes are a short peer-reviewed article type that concisely describe research data stored in a repository. Publishing a data note can help you to maximize the impact of your data and gain appropriate credit for your research.
Data notes promote the potential reuse of research data and include details of why and how the data were created. They do not include any analysis but they can be linked to a research article incorporating analysis of the published dataset, as well as the results and conclusions.
F1000Research enables you to publish your data note rapidly and openly via an author-centric platform. There is also a growing range of options for publishing data notes in Taylor & Francis journals, including in All Life and Big Earth Data .
Read our guide to data notes to find out more.
Letters or short reports
Letters or short reports (sometimes known as brief communications or rapid communications) are brief reports of data from original research.
Editors publish these reports where they believe the data will be interesting to many researchers and could stimulate further research in the field. There are even entire journals dedicated to publishing letters.
As they’re relatively short, the format is useful for researchers with results that are time sensitive (for example, those in highly competitive or quickly-changing disciplines). This format often has strict length limits, so some experimental details may not be published until the authors write a full original research article.
Brief reports (previously called Research Notes) are a type of short report published by F1000Research – part of the Taylor & Francis Group. To find out more about the requirements for a brief report, take a look at F1000Research’s guidance .
A method article is a medium length peer-reviewed, research-focused article type that aims to answer a specific question. It also describes an advancement or development of current methodological approaches and research procedures (akin to a research article), following the standard layout for research articles. This includes new study methods, substantive modifications to existing methods, or innovative applications of existing methods to new models or scientific questions. These should include adequate and appropriate validation to be considered, and any datasets associated with the paper must publish all experimental controls and make full datasets available.
Posters and slides
With F1000Research, you can publish scholarly posters and slides covering basic scientific, translational, and clinical research within the life sciences and medicine. You can find out more about how to publish posters and slides on the F1000Research website .
A Registered Report consists of two different kinds of articles: a study protocol and an original research article.
This is because the review process for Registered Reports is divided into two stages. In Stage 1, reviewers assess study protocols before data is collected. In Stage 2, reviewers consider the full published study as an original research article, including results and interpretation.
Taking this approach, you can get an in-principle acceptance of your research article before you start collecting data. We’ve got further guidance on Registered Reports here , and you can also read F1000Research’s guidance on preparing a Registered Report .
Original research articles are the most common type of journal article. They’re detailed studies reporting new work and are classified as primary literature.
You may find them referred to as original articles, research articles, research, or even just articles, depending on the journal.
Typically, especially in STEM subjects, these articles will include Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, and Conclusion sections. However, you should always check the instructions for authors of your chosen journal to see whether it specifies how your article should be structured. If you’re planning to write an original research article, take a look at our guidance on writing a journal article .
Review articles provide critical and constructive analysis of existing published literature in a field. They’re usually structured to provide a summary of existing literature, analysis, and comparison. Often, they identify specific gaps or problems and provide recommendations for future research.
Unlike original research articles, review articles are considered as secondary literature. This means that they generally don’t present new data from the author’s experimental work, but instead provide analysis or interpretation of a body of primary research on a specific topic. Secondary literature is an important part of the academic ecosystem because it can help explain new or different positions and ideas about primary research, identify gaps in research around a topic, or spot important trends that one individual research article may not.
There are 3 main types of review article
Presents the current knowledge including substantive findings as well as theoretical and methodological contributions to a particular topic.
Identifies, appraises and synthesizes all the empirical evidence that meets pre-specified eligibility criteria to answer a specific research question. Researchers conducting systematic reviews use explicit, systematic methods that are selected with a view aimed at minimizing bias, to produce more reliable findings to inform decision making.
A quantitative, formal, epidemiological study design used to systematically assess the results of previous research to derive conclusions about that body of research. Typically, but not necessarily, a meta-analysis study is based on randomized, controlled clinical trials.
Take a look at our guide to writing a review article for more guidance on what’s required.
Software tool articles
A software tool article – published by F1000Research – describes the rationale for the development of a new software tool and details of the code used for its construction.
The article should provide examples of suitable input data sets and include an example of the output that can be expected from the tool and how this output should be interpreted. Software tool articles submitted to F1000Research should be written in open access programming languages. Take a look at their guidance for more details on what’s required of a software tool article.
Ready to write your article, but not sure where to start?
For more guidance on how to prepare and write an article for a journal you can download the Writing your paper eBook .
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Introduction to library research.
- Types of Periodicals
- How to Tell If It's Peer-reviewed
- The Peer Review Process
Video: Scholarly Vs. Non-Scholarly Sources
- Popular Magazine vs. Scholarly Journal: Handout
- Google Scholar
- Finding Books and Articles
- Evaluating Sources
- Reference: Dictionaries and Encyclopedias
- Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary Sources
- Primary Materials and Statistics
- Steps in the Research Process
What is a periodical? A periodical is anything that comes out periodically. Magazines, newspapers, and journals are all periodicals. They may come out daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually, but new issues are released on a fixed schedule. While this legacy fades with the dominance of 24/7 production in the digital age, periodicity still plays an important role in scholarly publication.
Who is the audience? Magazines, newspapers, trade journals, and academic journals are intended for different audiences.
Distinguishing content on the internet: The stylistic cues that make it relatively easy to distinguish different types of content vanish when presented on the web. It's easy to tell the difference between an analog newspaper and scholarly journal. They look and feel very different from each other. When using information from the internet it is important to develop the skills to critically analyze the information you're presented with, rather than rely on stylistic cues to determine the quality of information you're consuming.
How to Tell if an Article is Peer Reviewed
- Journals: How to Locate Top Journals in Your Discipline So many scholarly journals! How can you tell which ones are the best?
The Peer Review Process
- Peer-Review Chart (pdf)
Check out this video from Virginia Commonwealth University VCU Libraries on the differences between scholarly and non-scholarly sources.
Here is a handout which may help you distinguish academic/scholarly journals from popular magazines.
- Distinguishing Magazines and Scholarly Journals A brief guide to help tell the difference between magazines and journals.
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